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Woman credits dogs for running off stranger who tried breaking into SE Portland home

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One of the dogs credited with scaring away a stranger trying to break into a southeast Portland home. (KPTV) One of the dogs credited with scaring away a stranger trying to break into a southeast Portland home. (KPTV)
An image from security footage, showing the man behind the trampoline. (KPTV) An image from security footage, showing the man behind the trampoline. (KPTV)
Surveillance image of stranger outside home in southeast Portland. (KPTV) Surveillance image of stranger outside home in southeast Portland. (KPTV)
Jen Merrill and one of the dogs she credits with running off a stranger trying to break into her southeast Portland home. (KPTV) Jen Merrill and one of the dogs she credits with running off a stranger trying to break into her southeast Portland home. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A southeast Portland woman says her dogs are to thank for running off a stranger who jumped her backyard fence and tried breaking in – all while she was home alone with her two kids.

It happened Monday just before noon at Jen Merrill’s home off Southeast 166th Avenue and Powell Boulevard.

The man was caught on her home surveillance system jumping two 6-foot fences and walking into her backyard.

Merrill came face-to-face with the man.

“I was out back sitting in the chair there,” she told FOX 12, pointing to her yard.

Merrill has four large dogs – two Great Danes, an American bulldog-Great Dane mix and a malamute – and she was also dog-sitting a German shepherd.

The dogs went crazy when they saw the intruder and got between her and the man as she yelled at him to leave.

But he only mumbled, waved her off and kept walking around the kids' trampoline.

Merrill went inside and grabbed the children.

“I heard my other dog downstairs going crazy unlike I’ve ever heard before,” she said.

The man wasn’t leaving.

Merrill said he jumped into a window well and tried getting into her house through the basement.

“I put the kids into the garage and I locked the door up here so they were locked inside and then I told the dogs, ‘Go get him,’ you know?” she recalled.

They did just that. Thirty seconds later, her cameras caught the man running away toward a neighbor’s yard.

She huddled with the kids in the garage – watching a monitor with a live feed of her cameras – and waited for police to arrive.

Officers scoured the neighborhood but didn’t find the man.

“We’re advertising that we’re watching,” Merrill said of her cameras. “Loud dogs, big dogs and a camera system and he still pursued it. That’s the scariest part for me.”

She’s not sure what he was after and said it looked like he was on drugs.

Now, she’s hoping her neighbors keep a close eye out in case he comes back.

She describes the suspect as a white man in his early 20s, about 5 feet 5 inches tall with red hair and sores on his face. If you know anything that can help with this investigation, contact Portland police

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